Sony has announced a new addition to its top-tier G Master lineup: the FE 50mm f/1.4 GM. This lens will be Sony’s sixth 50mm lens for E-mount. It’s also the second 50mm in the G Master line, joining the more expensive f/1.2 version. The newest member of the Sony 50mm family brings premium optics and a compact design to the table at a reasonable $1,299.99 price. 

What is the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM?

As mentioned, the 50mm f/1.4 GM falls in Sony’s G Master line, which is the company’s professional-level glass. G Master lenses promise high-resolution, high-end bokeh, weather-sealing, and rugged design. And that, at least on paper, applies to this new lens.

50mm is a classic, versatile focal length. You can use it for almost everything, from portraits to still life to landscapes. Plus, the fast f/1.4 aperture makes it great in low light and a fantastic bokeh tool. As a result, this lens is suitable for just about everyone, no matter what style of photography you practice. 

The Sony FE 50mm F1.4 G Master balances price, quality, and features nicely. Sony

How does the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM fit in the 50mm category?

Sony already offers five other 50mm lenses. That’s more 50mm choices than Canon and Nikon combined (excluding third-party lenses). Despite that, this lens was a really smart move for Sony. It is currently the only company making an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) 50mm with an f/1.4 aperture. That f/1.4 aperture is a sweet spot for lots of photographers. It is still fast for low-light performance and capable of a really shallow depth of field. But it allows for a smaller build than f/1.2 lenses and is more affordable than the wider aperture.

There are third-party f/1.4 options, including the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art for Sony E-mount. And there are some very expensive 50mm f/1.2 lenses (including Sony’s own GM version). But if you want a first-party 50mm f/1.4, you don’t have any options for other camera systems besides Sony. 

Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM build

As expected for a G Master lens, the 50mm f/1.4 GM features a rugged build. It is dust- and moisture-resistant for protection against the elements. And it also utilizes a fluorine coating to repel contaminants from the front element. 

The 50mm f/1.4 GM is quite lightweight and compact for a lens of this class, measuring 3.17×3.8 inches and 1.1 pounds. Sony claims this is 33 percent lighter with 15 percent less volume than lenses with the same specifications, such as its Planar T* FE 50 mm F1.4 ZA, which weighs 1.7 pounds.

The lens will feature a 67mm thread mount. This is the same as the FE 24mm F1.4 G Master and FE 35mm F1.4 G Master lenses. That means that if you are building a kit of Sony GM prime lenses, you don’t need to buy different filters for them all. 

Autofocus is powered by Sony’s high-thrust XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors. As a result, Sony says that autofocus will be 1.9x faster than lenses like the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 mentioned above. It also claims to have reduced focus breathing, making this lens a great hybrid choice. And this lens will support the focus breathing compensation tool found in Sony Alpha cameras.

This is the first Sony prime lens to offer an iris lock switch. Sony

Lens controls

The Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM body offers two customizable focus hold buttons and a focus mode switch. And when focusing manually, the Linear Response MF provides greater control for precise adjustments. There is also an iris lock switch, a first on a Sony prime lens. There is also a physical aperture ring. And for videographers, there is a switch to de-click the aperture ring for silent operation. 

Optical design

Inside the FE 50mm f/1.4 GM are 14 elements in 11 groups, including two XA (extreme aspherical) elements to correct field curvature and aberration. There is also one ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element that reduces chromatic aberration for clear images. Lastly, a Nano AR Coating II helps suppress reflections even in tricky lighting conditions like backlighting. All of these elements should result in high-resolution, clean images. 

Beyond the glass elements, the 11-blade circular aperture will provide beautiful bokeh, as we’ve come to expect from G Master lenses. And Sony says it is the “latest compact circular aperture unit,” which is part of why this lens is able to pack a fast maximum aperture in a relatively compact body.


Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM pricing & availabilty

The best thing about the new Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM? The price. At $1,299.99, this is the cheapest G Master lens to date. It also balances fast aperture, high resolution, and price that other companies haven’t necessarily managed yet. Sony’s newest 50mm is available for pre-order now and will ship in May 2023.